2023 Women in Print and Promo: Jennifer Grigorian, Hit Promotional Products
Chief Marketing Officer
Hit Promotional Products, Largo, Florida
Jennifer Grigorian has reason to celebrate. After 27 years in promo — 12 of which have been with Hit Promotional Products — she was promoted to chief marketing officer of the top 50 supplier in January. Her colleagues aren’t surprised.
“Jennifer is a dynamic leader for one of the largest suppliers in our industry,” according to her nominator. “Hit is a very fast-paced company, and we are constantly pushing our marketing folks for strategies and tactical tools for our sales team, as well as our distributors. Jennifer keeps all the plates spinning with a smile and without breaking a sweat.”
Grigorian enjoys helping people, and prides herself on being an active listener. When she applied to college, she wanted to be a psychologist. But she also needed income while completing her studies. It didn’t matter what the job was as long as it didn’t interfere with her soaps. A temp agency helped her find something close to home that allowed her to keep up with the romance, baby switches, and other high-stakes storylines of “Days of Our Lives.”
She started in a part-time capacity for an unnamed promo company. It didn’t take long for Grigorian to fall for the industry. “I loved the excitement of new products, and that no two days were the same,” she recalls. “It was a lot of work, but super fun at the same time, and that is the best combo: to have fun and enjoy what you do.”
Grigorian accepted a full-time position as an unofficial office assistant. In that role, she cut the camera-ready artwork from the slick paper, added the carbon copy order form, and sent the order overnight to the factories. She also followed up on orders by phone and scheduled vendor meetings. Grigorian jokes that this was before the internet, so if an employee was out of the office, they received a pink slip of paper with a handwritten message about who to call back.
In 2011, Grigorian joined Hit as the vice president of marketing — a title she held until now. She credits her first boss, who remains a lifelong friend and mentor, for introducing her to an industry that still feels fresh and invigorating.
Much like her TV preference, Grigorian’s life included a plot twist that even surprised her in those early years. “Spoiler alert, I never became a psychologist!” she says.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
I am most proud of my resilience. I started in this industry very young and inexperienced. At the time it was very male dominated. I worked diligently and patiently for years to grow in my career path. I took advice, I listened more than I spoke, I always paid attention because I wanted to learn as much as I could from everyone. I did every job I was asked to do because I saw a bigger picture in experience versus instant gratification. I have done it all — answered phones, picked up lunches, unpacked orders — I just wanted to learn. Resilience is my No. 1 key and the best advice I could give anyone. Things will not always go as you plan, or as quickly as you may hope, but it’s very important to be positive, grateful, happy, and always be kind. Never give up on what you want to achieve. If you hit a roadblock, pivot. Always learn, always grow, and always be open to change. A positive attitude is your best asset. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.
How Failure Taught Her Resiliency
Failing is a part of learning. No one is perfect, and everyone has room to learn something from every experience. That is what helps us with our growth. The best way to deal with it is to take responsibility for what you contributed to that failure, not make excuses, or point fingers, and try to not make that same mistake again. Never let anything bring you down, no matter what. We are human, we are not meant to be perfect, and that is OK!
Her Most Significant Barrier as a Female Leader
I think the industry has changed a lot since I started. It was very much male dominated at one point, especially early in my career. However, over the years, we have so many wonderful talented women who are in leadership roles, and that is absolutely beautiful to see. I always love seeing someone I know and admire grow in their career path. Watching someone I know get a promotion or win an award — I truly feel when one of us wins, we all win.
How She Thinks Companies Can Attract and Retain Female Talent
The best way for a company to attract female talent is by example. Have women in leadership roles. That entices other women to want to join a team where women are valued and in decision-making roles. It also shows there is opportunity for growth within that company. Every path may not be your final path, but having opportunities and positive experiences amongst other women in leadership will help in your career, and will create mentors and friends you will have for a lifetime.
Her Job Advice to Women
Go for it! It’s such a great industry, and we have some really amazing women. I have met so many wonderful women who are supportive, smart, positive, and successful. Some of my closest friends I’ve made in the industry, and, truly, that is what I cherish the most. The support of my friends is priceless, some I have known since the start of my career. And even though some of your friends you may only see at shows and events, it’s like you didn’t skip a beat when you get together. To me, it’s truly a big family, and I would encourage anyone to get involved. The best advice I can give anyone is to be patient and open to learn. A lot of times we want instant gratification, but time and experience are really the foundations to success.
Her Upcoming Goals
Professionally, I want to continue in the growth and success of our company overall. Hit has truly paved a path for me that is beyond my wildest dreams. They have always allowed me to be creative and forward thinking; they have given me all the tools and support to be successful both professionally and personally. My main goal is to continue contributing to our growth as a company. Personally, I would love to take a long trip traveling through Europe this year. Just typing this out I realize I am too busy for that. However, I would love to carve out some time for an international adventure. With that being said, I would be equally happy at Disney World.
How She Recharges
I am a Disney girl. That is my happy place. You can always find me taking quick weekend trips to the Orlando parks — just enough time to recharge and enjoy some downtime. And yes, I am THAT Disney girl with the Minnie ears, Pluto backpack, and themed T-shirts. If I see a character I love, you will see me running for a hug. Although I am always still connected and working (those lines can be long), I can still completely turn off the outside world when I am there, and just enjoy those wonderful moments.